I don’t have much need for pharmaceuticals (unlike, apparently, a large percentage of the population). I need a prescription maybe every couple years or so for a sinus or skin infection, do the Walgreens thing, and am done.
But I got a prescription a couple days ago for (let’s say) VitaminX that I need to pay for myself. And it ain’t cheap- $135 at drugstore.com. Yikes. So, says I, Canadian pharmacies are the way to go for these pricey prescriptions, right? OK, so which one?
Turns out that’s a hard question to answer.
Google is both your friend and your enemy in figuring things out. Searching on “best Canadian pharmacy” brings up a plethora of links, most of which are bogus. MyCanadianPhamacy.com turns out to be a front organization linked to dozens of spammish domains, except that trying to get info leads you into spammish “help” pages that increase one’s suspicion at least as much as they inform. Other sources explain how formal approvals are faked, legitimacy is faked, sponsorship is faked…
So what about the FDA? No help whatsoever. The FDA has a stated policy that any re-importation of prescription drugs into the US by anyone other than the original manufacturer is illegal. Even if you blame them as supporting high drug prices by US-based manufacturers, it’s hard to argue much given the some of the sleazy sources on the web.
So… let’s find some certifying organization with a list of approved online pharmacies. Blech. Search around and you end up with obscure legislative and bureaucratic pages that lead nowhere. Other links lead to real, formal organizations with no relevance (Safeway Canada won’t ship a prescription to me in California).
The only relevant sources seem to be various state government organizations with links, like Minnesota, Washington, and Nevada. OK, it’s information with some legitimacy, but WTF? Nevada ignores the fact that brand-name versions of drugs like VitaminX cost MORE ($186 shipped) than through, say, drugstore.com. The cheapness comes from generic substitution, which isn’t legal yet for VitaminX.
What a PITA… this has turned into the hardest shopping task yet. Harder than computers, more convoluted than kitchen remodeling. There’s more, but I can’t reconstruct the real search path I spent hours working through.
So my current thinking… I can get prices at least as good, and maybe better, on brand-name VitaminX at my local Walgreens versus anything on-line, with the benefit of walking in with a prescription form and walking out 20min later with drugs. Am going to check Costco and Walmart, too. Still, for me in this case, local is better.
Overall, though… what a frigging zoo.